“I’m not gay though”

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I was at the bus stop when a Mexican woman and her daughter come over, too. She asks me if the bus still goes by Wal-hell down the street. I tell her, Yes. And shortly after that she starts telling her daughter that I am pretty and I look just like so-and-so. As the bus comes, she says to me, “You are so pretty. Really. I’m not gay or anything.”

She continues, “My daughters are always telling me to stop saying that to other women or they’ll think I’m gay but I just wanted to say you’re gorgeous.” Again– “I’m not gay or anything.”

My first response was “Thank you.”

The Mexican lady says something else and I assure her, “No, its okay.” I add, maybe unnecessarily, as the bus pulls up, “Some people might be offended by another woman saying they’re pretty but I’m not one of them”. She doesn’t say anything else and we all get on the bus.

Why are people so desperate to appear extra-straight? What’s wrong with telling another woman you think she’s pretty? I’ve never told anyone in my family that I don’t identify exactly as straight. They are very queerphobic. Yet I am still baffled and somewhat incensed by people’s desire to make sure NO ONE (all CAPS) thinks they’re gay. Even if you say it because your life is in danger from violent people, you might live another day by lying about it but aren’t you dying a slower death inside from lying about who you are anyway?

People’s desperate, crazed desire to avoid being labeled as gay or in anyway acknowledging of the same sex, be they queer or straight, is alarming. Its scary. I think less of the state of the world every time anything like this happens. Its disappointing.

The Queen’s Curl’s: hair is business

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Hair recently…

Is it okay to use what works for you or are all the naturalistas judging you for not buying from Black-owned hair companies? News flash: A lot of that stuff’s really damn expensive. For poor and working class people trying to care for themselves, including their hair, its not always an option.

But still…

Coming up on the bottom of my jars of rarely used Cantu and Sof n’ Free Gro Healthy pudding, I promised myself I’d investigate Black-owned hair companies the next time I needed hair products. And I am. I was okay in the beginning of my natural hair journey in 2011 to find something that worked for me and stick with it. Then I read THIS– Black owned natural hair products/companies. It gave me pause and made me realize what I was inadvertently doing–supporting a long, violent history of white exploitation of my race.

I never had anybody tell me my hair was beautiful. Never had anybody teach me how to care for my hair. That my hair was worth caring for without a relaxer. I was so excited to realize my hair was fine exactly the way it is that I just went with the first thing I used that worked for me. I vouched for Sof n’ Free until I realized who owned it. Now I cringe when I look back at my past posts. I wonder how many Black women might’ve come across my blog and dismissed me and what I was writing out of hand for not using the products of Black-owned companies. At the same time, I’ve come a long way and I can only treat my hair better. This is where I am now.

My ideal product is one created by Black women with Black women and Black love in mind, owned by a person who deserves every penny, one that I respect.

But these business owners have to get paid and likely Black hair is simply a business to them, as anything else is in the capitalist American mind. The next step for me is to see what they know and what they’ve got. Ultimately, I want to find simple, homemade remedies for my hair so I don’t have to rely on anybody.

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Then, suddenly, two people fucking

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I watched some of the latest James Brown movie and it reminded me of one thing about myself: I don’t like movies where suddenly people are having sex or a character walks in on people having sex. There’s no context, no substance, no emotion. Its just there all of a sudden. Its purely done for shock value by the industry and I don’t find it amusing. Its disgusting.

The opening of Rosewood, especially considering its racially charged nature, makes me want to throw up. Yes, you can walk in on people having sex accidentally. It happens, but “sudden fucking” is NOT in movies because it sometimes happens. Its there for shock value and cheap thrills.

It doesn’t titillate me. It doesn’t excite me. Its feels like being mentally and emotionally assaulted. “Sudden sex” in movies makes me physically ill. Especially when I don’t know if someone is being abused or having consensual sex.

“Why is he with her?”

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Quick run-through of the situation:

  1. Television show, What Would You Do?
  2. Mexican man dating a white woman, in a restaurant,
  3. a Latina at a nearby table asks him “Why are you even with her?” and questions his loyalty to their race out loud in front of other customers,
  4. other customers and management respond by berating her openly and making even more ignorant declarations than she did, pulling the reverse racism card
  5. the reason I don’t watch television and need to stop going into my sister’s den of ignorance (This post is happening because I walked by her door and made the mistake of asking her what was so funny)

Many people will agree that its racist to hate people of different races being together. Fewer people understand how some interracial relationships can be inherently racist and they don’t bother to learn either, especially Americans.

The media deliberately misinforms and disseminates disinformation about what racism is and how it operates. This hidden camera ignorance called What Would You Do? (judging by this segment) looks like a great example of that. It takes people who really pay attention to know the difference between racism and what they want you to think racism is.

Because of how internalized racism works, beaten into the Black people in America by whites, I DO NOT think or believe a Black woman who sees a Black man with a white woman in a restaurant and silently wonders, “Why is he with her?” is necessarily racist. Because sometimes what she’s really asking is, “Is this Black man with this white woman (or INSERT NON-Black race) because she’s NOT Black?” Black men are known to associate white women with beauty, cleanliness, upward mobility, and docility because white people have deliberately taught everyone that Black women are the opposite (barring docility). Black men deliberately go after and engage with women of other races oftentimes because they view Black women as inferior. I believe that Mexican women and other Women of Color have similar experiences.

One man in the episode tries to discuss the issue with the Latina dissenter, saying “I’m American first, Latino second”. So you prioritize nationality (a nation violently and unjustly shaped and continuously and disproportionately influenced by white hate and greed) over your race which made you? And he said it so proudly. The responses from the customers leads into a very familiar and frustrating territory: reverse racism. Which typically only exists in the land of white logic where they faithfully believe they are regular victims of racism instead of the unapologetic perpetrators in general.

Black Pride and white pride are two different things. While white pride comes from a place of hate and an unfounded sense of superiority, Black Pride comes from a place of love, sorrow, joy, pain, and strength. This demonstrates an inversion: One is inherently racist and the other is not. Even generalizing can be different when white racism is involved. In exactly the same way, it reasons that a Woman of Color wondering why a man of Color is with a white woman is NOT necessarily the same as a white woman saying out loud in a restaurant why a white man is with a Woman of Color.

Interracial relationships are usually complicated, race tends to bring specifically complex dimensions to it. So outside of voicing my observances and experiences on how they can be horribly racist by their very nature, I stay out of the entire affair. I would never say something like what the Latina in the segment said even if I silently wondered how deep the Mexican man and the white woman’s relationship is. Not only because I would likely be attacked by “well-meaning Americans” who think they know what racism is but because I have no idea what the interracial couple’s relationship is like, I don’t know them, and its none of my business until they make it my business, which is hard to do.

My rule of thumb, however,  is that interracial relationships are suspect because people are typically dumb, shallow, racist, and impulsive. They are socialized that way.

The Prancing Elites Project–transphobia in homophobia in heterosexism

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I don’t own a TV but there are two in the house and there is only cable in the house because my sister is addicted and even sleeps with the TV on despite having my almost one-year-old nephew in bed with her (obviously a source of annoyance for me because it just isn’t healthy to sleep like that).

Point: My has been watching The Prancing Elites. I just don’t know why she watches it. She’s not learning anything it seems and she seems disgusted and offended by queer, gay, trans* and nonconforming folks. This is popular television I’m talking about here so I only take it worth a grain of salt but what this show can represent matters.

There are women, and maybe especially men, who are violently offended and disgusted when they see someone with a “male hardware” body carrying or conducting themselves in a way that doesn’t fit their idea of what they think a man is and what a man should look like. Isn’t transphobia inherently homophobic? And vice versa? I’ve used the word queer and use the term queerphobic. Its ALL queerphobic and heterosexist to me.

Disgust and hate breeds disgust and hate. I was disgusted my sister’s phobic comments, her looks of distaste, and her attitude of disapproval for The Prancing Elites.

A commercial for The Prancing Elites Project comes on. My sister starts talking and says that on the show, one person told one of the dancers something like, “You may think of yourself as woman, and I support you, but you’re still a man” My sister says, “Well that’s true. And women make better dancers anyway”.

‘lifestyle choices’

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I often find the term lifestyle choice to be abrasive, presumptuous, ignorant, and discriminatory. It can only be a “lifestyle choice” when you actually have a consistent set of choices or the freedom to consistently make your own choices about your daily or regular routines and practices. Some people don’t.

Privileged people who can make most of their own choices regularly have lifestyles. Without being free to make your own choices, the whole lifestyle choice accusation kind of falls apart.

Lifestyle and lifestyle choices are terms that privileged people (who have an array of options to choose from) use when they’re about to say something wrong to someone who has less options than they do or none at all.

You can only have a lifestyle if you’re styling your life/habits/routines on purpose. You can only make a lifestyle choice when you know you have a choice and are free to choose.

On “Getting Old”

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Giggling people who want to take shots at people nearing thirty for “getting older” ask “Who is ‘N Sync??” in loud obnoxious voices and in all caps online. People who don’t totally define themselves by fads, trends, and mass media hysteria and really want to know who ‘N Sync is, use Google like all other curious people or ask around discreetly.

And ‘N Sync is just an example.

I don’t believe in “getting old”. I actually feel sorry for younger folks. Everything that’s popular looks like a bunch of trendy nonsense.

I am a member of a race where everything we do is constantly getting appropriated, acculturated, co-opted, or swept under the rug when it can’t be condensed into the white melting pot. Its horribly depressing that people relegate culture, whole groups of people, and art like music and literature to the dusty closet of history just because they don’t see the relevance or corporations say its obsolete or out of style (which is ridiculous, side story time–I liked this dip that came with the chicken lettuce wraps at a restaurant, a lot of people liked it, it was very popular. I came back a few months later and the restaurant had gotten rid of it just to change the menu up; they replaced the dip with some cilantro stuff. Yes, I just included that anecdote, I do what I want). Some things progress or change but that doesn’t change its origin.

The past informs the present, nothing exists in a vacuum. Oh ye children of forgetfulness and willful ignore, for shame.

WordPress Support, no support at all

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I’m pretty sure nobody’s paying them to be sensitive or paying some of them at all. I just got told at WordPress.com Support that there’s nothing they can do about my mother’s crazy ex-husband stalking me across every blog of mine that he can find…except making   my blogs private.

I asked a question, someone answered, I don’t have to be happy with the almost snarkily clinical answer the bee gave me. I’ve read some pretty rude-sounding responses from “community members” and Happiness Engineers and I stack this bullshit among them.

I’m pretty sure there’s something they could do about it. Its probably just something they don’t want to do, for good reasons I’m sure. Still, this is some bullshit. Might find myself getting the hell up of WordPress though I’ve been here since 2009 and never had anything disagreeable to say before this year. Maybe I’m just getting tired of blogging.

The only way is for me to avoid this fucker is for me to make my blogs private, start new blogs and don’t list them anywhere, or endure his shit. Doesn’t seem like much of an option if you ask me.

I just needed them to be a little more sensitive, this guy is e-mailing me, stalking members of my mom’s family, trying to find me where I live from all the way across the country, and now he’s invading my blogs again like he did on my first WP blog. I don’t deserve to be punished because my blogs are public. I’m not saying block him from WordPress.com and the whole freaking interwebs, I was just asking if there’s any way to stop him from getting notifications whenever I post something.

I guess not.

I built this for myself, I’ve worked at it, I’ve hung in there through everything. and now I have to shut it down because I can’t deal with this. Its not fair.

Autumn Song: I’m on hiatus

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I am on hiatus indefinitely. It doesn’t mean I won’t be posting, it just means I will not commit to posting until next year.

I couldn’t be happier that summer is over. Autumn is my favorite season and I’m going to enjoy it to the fullest this year. Its been really hard and lonely recently but I’m hoping a lot of things change and transform for the better for me between now and next year, and will be moving forward with this aspiration in mind.

~Queens

On street harrassment: Your Opinion About Her Body Is Always Unasked For

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You liked the way she looks so you felt the need to tell her. Think about where that need stems from: You liked the way she looked. You thought she wanted to know. You felt the need to tell her what you think. You think compliments are always innocent or good manners. You think a man should compliment a woman or that women should be complimented in whatever way you see fit. Sounds like a personal problem, doesn’t it? Think about it.

There’s nothing selfless about complimenting somebody. Men (and women too) tend to “compliment” women under the following circumstances:

The “innocent compliment”:

  • I think you look good/attractive/nice/pretty and I wanted to let you know.
  • Its good manners to tell someone they look nice.
  • To show casual approval of someone’s existence.

Power:

  • I can get a smile out of her for my own gratification.
  • I can make “ugly women” feel good.
  • I have thoughts about her body that I want to share. Because my opinion is necessary/valid everywhere I go.

Pity/Power/Nice GuyTM:

  • She looks upset/she’s ugly, I bet no one ever tells her she looks pretty, so I will.
  • I was just trying to do a nice thing by complimenting her.
  • *Trying to get a date/sex/attention/(male/ego) gratification, offers compliment to get conversation going or get the required feeling and reaction you want out of her*
  • I don’t want to deal with who she is as a person or what she’s going through, so making her smile or hearing her say thank you for my compliment will make me feel more comfortable.

Right, you don’t know what she’s going through, who she is, or how she will react.  She’s not a painting in the fucking Louvre, so unwanted compliments can be objectifying as well and fall under street harassment.

As someone who gets unwanted opinions about my body/appearance all the time, I can tell you to never assume compliments/comments are wanted unless they are asked for. Oh how I wish I could get attention when I want it instead of only when someone else offers it!

Your opinion about a complete stranger’s body is always unasked for, which means they didn’t ask for it. Does that mean you don’t offer a compliment if you feel one coming on? No. It just means you need to be aware and accept the reality that everything is not about you and that person may not want to know what you’re thinking about them. Additionally, people don’t always care what you’re thinking about them.

At the end of the day, your compliment is an opinion. As an opinion it is sometimes unwanted and unnecessary, even if its intended to be a gesture of politeness. So don’t act like you deserve a smile and a thank you for offering it, or like you just saved the day of every woman you come across by letting them know you like the way they look.

If you offer a compliment (read as OPINION) and find out that she doesn’t want it, apologize and move on. As long as you remember that your thoughts on this person may not be wanted BEFORE you open your mouth, you should be fine. Be humble.

Read the initial commentary, since this article is in reaction to this post.